Postcard views of Notre Dame


Notre Dame's first college building, built in 1843.

Notre Dame's first college building, built in 1843.

The following description of Old College is from the excellent campus guide Notre Dame The Official Campus Guide by Damaine Vonada.

Old College is often called the "Cradle of the University." It is the oldest structure on campus and has been in continuous use since it was contructed of bricks made from lake marl in 1843. You might say that this very modest and unpretentious structure was Notre Dame's first Main building. Father Sorin had it erected as soon as possible in order to give his "university" some semblance of credibility, and Old College was initially a square, multi-purpose building that housed classrooms, the refectory, and sleeping quarters. He planned the building with Brother Francis Xavier Patois, C.S.C., a carpenter from Clermont, France, whose on-the-job training would render him the unofficial architect of several of Notre Dame's earliest buildings.

Old College was Notre Dame's first landmark structure, and it's known for the time-worn wooden sign that not only spells out its name in clumsy letters, but also signifies the building's long history. Over the years, Old College has been enlarged and modified countless times for a variety of uses-convent, band headquarters, bakery, farmhouse, guest house, and retreat house. During a campus housing shortage in the early 1970s, Old College housed a group of Notre Dame freshmen, and because a priest named Flanigan was their rector, the building was dubbed "Boys' Town." Old College is now used by the Congregation of Holy Cross as a residence for undergraduates who are considering joining the order as priests or brothers. Here, these university students experience the lifestyle of a religious community while still attending classes, participating in extracurricular activities, and working toward their academic degrees.




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